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II. Election News This Week
- Tuesday was primary day in Los Angeles and while it was relatively a quiet day with few problems, there was one major issue when a poll worker was shot several times at a polling place in Watts. According to reports, the shooting was not random and the poll worker knew his attacker.
- In the same week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against the elimination of Section 5 of the Voting Rights, a three-judge panel ruled that the state of New Hampshire deserves a bailout from the VRA. New Hampshire originally became a Section 5 jurisdiction in the 1960s when the state had a literacy test on the books and 10 communities were singled out because of supposedly low voter registration and turnout. According to the Union Leader, in its ruling, the court noted that a “significant” percentage of the voting-age population in the covered towns participate in elections. "Finally, we're done with this," Secretary of State William Gardner told the paper.
- In other Voting Rights Act news, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin blasted comments made by Chief Justice John Roberts during the Supreme Court arguments on Section 5. During arguments, Roberts said Massachusetts has the worst ratio of white voter turnout to black voter turnout of any state in the U.S. Roberts also said Massachusetts has the worst disparity between whites and blacks in voter registration. Galvin told WBUR that neither statement is correct. “I’m a lawyer, he’s a lawyer – lawyers are not supposed to provide disinformation in the course of a case. It’s supposed to be based on truth. What’s really distressing is the deeper we looked into the facts, the more of a distortion his comments are,” Galvin told the station.
- One Hamilton County, Ohio board of elections employee was looking for love in all the wrong places and now it’s going to cost him. Employee Ken Spruce had been warned about searching the dating website Match.com while at work, but when he failed to comply, he lost his Internet privilege at work and a day’s pay.
- Also in Ohio, Pumpkin the cat has taken up residence at the Athens County board of elections. Director Debby Quivey (R) and Deputy Director Penny Brooks (D) rescued the cat about year ago and after getting Pumpkin some much-needed medical attention he’s become the talk of the elections office. “I honestly noticed a difference in stress in the office during the general election,” Quivey told the Athens Messenger. “We spend five minutes with the cat and we’re chilled out,” Brooks told the paper. Maybe Congress needs a cat.
- Personnel News: Chris Carillo, a member of the Guam Election Commission was recently charged with possession and importation of 522 grams of marijuana. Former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White has until March 15 to file court documents explaining why he thinks he should get a new trial on voter fraud and theft charges. Betty L. Youngberg, deputy director of the Lake County, Ohio board of elections was fired after a year on the job. After being unanimously confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 20, new Texas Secretary of State John Thomas Steen, Jr. is now officially on the job. Nancy Gay has been promoted to serve as Columbia County, Ga.’s elections director. Gay previously served as the county’s voter registration coordinator.
- In Memoriam: Marette Fair, former Twiggs County, Ga. election supervisor died last week. She was 70. “She was an outstanding lady and brought a high degree of respect and professionalism to the elections office. She was there until December when she resigned,” Ray Bennett, a former County Commissioner told The Telegraph. “I know that her friends and family will sorely miss her, and the community’s sore for losing her.”